All posts filed under: Labour & Birth Essentials

Labour & Birth: An Overview

When we think about the process of childbirth, what our body needs to do is pretty simple: Labour is triggered by our baby and our body responds by creating contractions which move baby into the pelvis and which causes the muscles of the uterus to do its thing – the long muscles shorten, causing the cervix to dilate and then contractions become expulsive, guiding baby down through the birth canal. It can certainly be as simple as this but labour and birth is also a fine balance of hormones which can help make contractions effective and manageable. And while every labouring woman will have her own pattern of labour, there can be familiar characteristics. What is happening…Your cervix is softening, thinning and opening – this can take a few hours or a few days and your contractions may vary from being completely mild and manageable to more uncomfortable and painful. Your baby can also be settling into position in your pelvis. What it can feel like…It is normal to feel excited, worried, apprehensive, relieved, anxious, …

Essentials for Labour & Birth

Sometimes the small details can make a huge difference to your mindset, to how labour flows and how you manage energy and work with your contractions. DRINK WATER: so you don’t become dehydrated and tired EAT: you may need energy REST: to conserve your energy BREATHE: know how to control your breathing to stay calm, focused and to handle any panic or anxiety. If you can use your breathing, you can get rid of any tension MOVE: use gravity and different positions to stay comfortable and to work with your contractions SAY WHAT YOU NEED: only you know how you are feeling and what feels right for you BE WELL PREPARED: read well, invest in good antenatal classes so you have knowledge about your options, what may help and what may not ASK QUESTIONS: so you know what is going on and what your options are FEEL SAFE: have the support you need, be where you want to be, do what feels right – this can help your labour work well DON’T FEAR YOUR CONTRACTIONS: …

antenatal classes pregnancy and birth labour and birth newcastle and tyneside

Pregnancy & Birth – how and why to use your breathing…

Breathing can be an effective way to stay calm, to have more energy, to have some more control, to work with your contractions and enable your body to work more effectively BUT what does that mean? We can all breathe, so why do we need to know how to breathe for labour and birth? I have focused on Relax & Breathe for the past 10 years and I have seen how relaxed breathing has made a difference to how women feel in pregnancy, as well as how it can affect how they feel and work with their contractions during labour. My practice is all about keeping it simple – you don’t need to learn a new way to breathe, it is all about slowing down your breathing and learning to switch off and to focus on just breathing. To be able to relax and focus on your breathing, it can also help to know what to expect: to know what your body needs to do in labour and birth and to know what is going on …

pregnancy newcastle tyneside

What can affect labour & birth?

For many of us, when we are pregnant and preparing for the birth of our baby, we are aiming for a ‘normal’ labour, we want as natural and as straightforward an experience as possible but we might be unaware of what can affect labour. With an unplanned caesarean rate of 14.8%, an assisted delivery rate of 12.5% (Birthchoice) and a growing epidural rate of 30% – information about what can affect labour, how it works and how we can manage our contractions can be beneficial. As a mother of three and an antenatal teacher, I passionately believe that good antenatal classes are an important part of pregnancy – to inform, provide practical information and skills, to support and to reassure. There is a lot to be said for knowing about and trusting the birth process – of believing we can do it and this does go a long way to deal with anxiety and fear but this is only part of the story, so what can affect how labour flows and our need for pain relief …

Positions for labour & birth

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) promotes the use of different positions for labour and birth to enable labouring women to feel comfortable and to help labour to flow. The RCM states that: “Gravity is the greatest aid in giving birth but for historical reasons we can make women give birth on their backs. These resources can be used to help women understand and practice alternative positions during pregnancy, to feel free to be mobile and to use different positions during labour and birth.” The key to using positions and movement in labour is to listen to your body, to allow instinct to take over so you use positions for rest and for your contractions. Positions for labour & birth: get comfy and let your body do what it needs to do… You can sit on a ball or a chair to be upright. For extra support you can lean on someone or use the bed, a chair or a sling. If you are moving around, you may want to lean into the wall or …